Rambler Javelin

The forgotten ĎAussieí muscle car

ONE of the rarest Australian-built muscle cars is the Javelin, from American Motors Corporation, a car best known for its exploits against the Mustangs and Camaros in the incredible US Trans-Am race series.

AMC produced kits in the US, shipped them to Port Melbourne and assembled them at the Australian Motor Industries factory not far from Holdenís headquarters. The Javelin and all other AMC models were sold here under the Rambler brand.

The Javelin coupe sold here for about $7500 in 1968, which was almost double the price of the XT Falcon GT and Holden Monaro GTS 327 at the time.

The top-shelf models ran a 343ci (5.6-litre) V8 engine hooked up to a three-speed automatic transmission.

AMI also produced the Rambler AMX, Hornet and Matador models Ė and one prototype of the Gremlin hatch, a quirky small hatch with a six-cylinder engine. This right-hand-drive car was recently shipped back to the US and fully restored by an American AMC fan.

The kits for Australia were produced at AMCís Kenosha plant in Wisconsin, but certain parts were left out so they could be sourced locally in order to earn tax benefits under rules that encouraged local component production. They were painted in the US, which meant no unique Australian colour schemes. AMI sourced seat trim, carpet and a few other minor components from local suppliers.

Roughly 250 Javelins were built in Australia from 1968-72 and Rambler production at the Melbourne plant finished in 1978.

AUSSIE PRIDE

Itís a snorting two-door V8 muscle car

IT'S A SHAME

It cost almost twice as much as a Monaro GTS